Follow TV Tropes


No Sense of Humor

Go To
Dorothy Gale: Another one to join us on our journey! And what are you missing?
Batman: A sense of humor.

A character with No Sense of Humor is incapable of enjoying jokes, comedy, or humor of any sort. Maybe the character is The Stoic turned Up to Eleven, or an otherworldly being with no notion of comedy, or the victim of a traumatizing accident — whatever it is, this person is unwilling (or unable) to respond to humor, tell jokes, or even recognize when something is funny at all.

Some characters with No Sense of Humor maintain their seriousness by sheer force of will. Others might have a conceptual understanding of humor, but simply treat it as an odd curiosity or with a clinical detachment. Oftentimes, such a character is placed in absurd situations to elicit laughs from the audience.

A common characteristic for The Stoic, The Spock, and the Grande Dame.

Arguably a Sub-Trope of No Social Skills depending on the culture. May overlap with Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor and Sarcasm-Blind. Also see Late to the Punchline, Don't Explain the Joke and Cannot Tell a Joke. Dude, Not Funny! is a completely different trope, but in-universe, one can be confused for the other depending on the character.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Light from Death Note lacks any sort of sense of humor. Although he does make a "joke" about wanting to trade away half his life for shinigami wings.
  • Touya Akira and Touya Majin in Hikaru no Go.
  • In the Soul Hunter manga, the ultimate Big Bad, Jyoka, has absolutely no sense of humor. Lampshaded by Taikoubou at one point.
  • Almost all of the big villains in Berserk.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, just try to name one of the Seiryu Seishi that had any sort of sense of humor, or even any funny moments. All of them are always dead serious and never find humor in any situation.
  • Juubei Kakei from Get Backers. When he is informed of this, he is devastated, because he blames his lack of a sense of humor for the troubles suffered by his friends Kazuki and Makubex, and applies himself to telling bad jokes at every subsequent opportunity in order to make up for such an unforgivable lack.
  • Creed Diskenth of Blackcat.
  • Karakuri Circus: Unfortunately for Narumi, the only way to stop his Incurable Cough of Death is to make someone laugh, and he really sucks at it.
  • No-nonsense badass soldier Giroro of Sgt. Frog, especially in the Dub.
  • Hatori Sohma from Fruits Basket.
  • Chaos from Heaven's Lost Property is a tragic example. While seeking help, she saw a comedy scene where the protagonist says he doesn't want any angeloid. That has... consequences.
  • Mikael from I'm Gonna Be an Angel! ...if we're not counting the last three or four episodes that is — although in those episodes it's not what one would call "a healthy sense of humor" either.
  • Lithuania from Hetalia: Axis Powers. (Germany is at least a Deadpan Snarker sometimes) This does not mix well with Poland.
  • Reika in Smile Pretty Cure! doesn't even know what the word "joke" means.
  • Lunge from Monster is laser-focused on catching Dr. Tenma at all costs — he subsequently has no time for comedy. He does lighten up a bit at the end though.


    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore's Promethea features a female cop named Lucille Ball in the supporting cast. She frequently has to say, "No relation" and remind people that she has No Sense of Humor.
  • Batman himself sometimes falls under this trope, Depending on the Writer.
    • Surprisingly enough, the original version of The Joker. In his first appearance, he was a permanently smiling psychotic gangster with no sense of humor whatsoever. In his first fight with Batman, Bats is actually the one making puns, while Joker is screaming "I am going to kill you!"
    • The Joker was actually able to make Batman laugh at the end of the graphic novel The Killing Joke (even though the story as a whole wasn't funny in the least).
  • Moon Knight, also Depending on the Writer. Rather apt given that he's an Expy for Batman.
  • X-Men: Professor X and Magneto are frequently flanderized as no-nonsense extremists. James Mac Avoy's performance is the first attempt to move away from this, although one might simply assume that as he gets older, he will get more serious. Also, Ian McKellen gave Magneto a deadpan, cynical sense of humor which was expanded on by Michael Fassbender.
  • Ultra Magnus in The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye takes most of the comic to start making jokes, and even then, they rarely go past being a Deadpan Snarker. A minor plot point in the Annual is that the mechanisms Magnus uses to smile have gone without use in so long that they've started to rust in place.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Idol Hooves in The Changeling of the Guard. Having been banished from the hive by Queen Chrysalis, he travels Equestria, seeing the outside world for the first time. His first exposure to humor is met with a lot of confusion, but he eventually comes to find the concept fascinating, though he doesn't really understand Wasta's jokes.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, Melvin is unable to laugh or understand anything humorous. Professor Poopypants soon discovers that it's because Melvin completely lacks the (made-up) part of the brain that contains the sense of humor. Initially, the character trait is used to make Melvin a foil to pranksters George and Harold. Poopypants then uses Melvin's unique physiology as a basis for a device that removes other people's senses of humor, thus inflicting this trope on everyone who crosses his path.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The film Rat Race features a character who tragically was born without a personality.
  • In No Country for Old Men, according to Carson Wells the big problem with Anton Chighurh isn't that he is batshit insane, but that he lacks a sense of humor.
  • The various Terminators exhibit this behavior, being emotionless robots.
  • Colonel O'Neil of Stargate. Used for a joke in the television series (see below).
  • From Happy-Go-Lucky, Scott the driving instructor, and Poppy's older sister Helen.
  • In Highlander, The Kurgan accuses nuns of being this when they don't appreciate him waggling his tongue at them.
  • The Comically Serious Agent K in Men in Black, who isn't exactly this, but does this make this very relevant quip about his cover story:
    Beatrice: You here to make fun of me, too?
    K: No ma'am, we at the FBI do not have a sense of humor we are aware of.
  • This, and attempts to develop a sense of humor, are the focus of Sha Wujing's character arc in The Lost Empire (a sort of unofficial sequel to Journey to the West.) He's eventually told that it's better to have no sense of humor than to have the sense of humor that the villains have, and he laughs for the first time at the realization that he was worried over nothing.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
    • Judge Doom. A very serious case, considering he's a toon.
    • And Eddie Valiant, due to his brother being murdered by a toon. That toon happens to be Judge Doom.
  • In Hot Fuzz Nicholas Angel's devotion to his job above everything else has made him a first-class police officer. It's also rendered him a completely humourless, pedantic and uptight prick. When the movie starts he has just been dumped and Reassigned to Antarctica, neither of which does anything to improve his personality (which, while not entirely humorless, was already pretty damned abrasive).
  • Agent Hanratty from Catch Me If You Can.
  • Ninotchka is a cold-hearted Russian envoy who seems unmoved by any of the jokes of her potential love interest Leon. Until he accidentally slips and falls, which makes her burst out loud.
  • Good Morning, Vietnam:
    • Sgt. Major Dickerson.
      Sgt. Major Dickerson: That is humor. I recognize that.
    • Lt. Hauk thinks he has a sense of humor, but really doesn't. His attempts to be funny on the radio generate a Flat "What" from his colleagues, and piles of hate mail from the audience.
  • Blade: Trinity: Blade considers Hannibal King a constant annoyance due to King's sense of humor. In the comic books, King is a much more serious character; in fact more serious than Blade is in the comics. King's portrayal as a nonstop joke machine in the movie could be due to casting Ryan Reynolds.

  • Discworld:
    • Granny Weatherwax understands humor on a conceptual level, but has absolutely no sense of humor and has no understanding of how or why jokes work. Illustrated well in Witches Abroad, where she repeatedly tries to tell the "alligator sandwich" joke but always bungles the punchline with something like "And be quick about it!"Actual punchline 
    • Death also has no sense of humor, being an anthropomorphic personification who doesn't understand human emotions. His brief attempts to inject humor into his work failed spectacularly.
    • In Going Postal, Adora Belle Dearheart tells Moist Von Lipwig that she has no sense of humour due to her embarrassing name.
    • In Making Money, the head bank clerk, Mavolio Bent, has "no sense of humour whatsoever. It has been proven by phrenology." It becomes more apparent when one considers his background as the child of a clown, being laughed out of the arena during his first performance (which failed), fleeing from the circus and vowing never to laugh again.
    • Archchancellor Ridcully has a similar lack as Granny, with the result that his jokes are one of many aspects of his personality that grate on the Bursar, who also has no sense of humour, but at least understands how jokes are supposed to work. In fact, when Ridcully first appears in Moving Pictures, the Bursar (who has not yet been driven completely insane by the man) attempts a joke himself:
      The Archchancellor gave him a look so old-fashioned it might have belonged to an ammonite.
      "That a joke?" he said, in the suspicious tones of someone who wouldn't really understand the term "sense of humour" even if you sat down for an hour and explained it to him with diagrams.
    • Dwarves are known for their sense of humour. In a way. People point them out and say "Those little buggers haven't got a sense of humour."
    • Sergeant Detritus, a troll on the A-M City Watch, "treats humour as a human aberration" to be overcome by talking slowly and patiently.
  • In The Deed of Paksenarrion, gnomes are absolute Lawful Neutral with no humor, believing that only they know and follow the true laws laid down at creation by the High Lord.
  • Brothers of the Snake:
    • Brother-sergeant Priad doesn't understand that someone's joking even when it seems obvious, like when Petrok says that he's already killed four or five annying equerries.
      Petrok: Funny, you can spot a tracer round flying over your head in time to duck it, but a joke...
      Priad: That was a joke?
      Petrok: I haven't killed any equerries. It's frowned upon.
    • Petrok, on the other hand, is an inversion — sometimes he seems like the only Iron Snake with any sense of humor at all.
  • Harry Potter: Percy Weasley "wouldn't recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea cozy." He does have a bit of a harshly sarcastic moment in Deathly Hallows, though, which is remarked upon with astonishment by his siblings one of whom is tragically killed seconds later.
  • In The Screwtape Letters, the devils' inability to understand humor is played for laughs.
  • From Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge novels, Unseleighe psychics have absolutely No Sense of Humor, along with little comprehension of allegory and the imaginations of bricks. In one novel, they were driven insane trying to comprehend the lyrics of They Might Be Giants.
  • From Animorphs, Andalites. All of them besides Ax and Arbron.
  • Thomas from Malevil. He even notes that he's known for not having a sense of humor but doesn't argue the point.
  • Pedro Camacho from Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.
  • In Warrior Cats, Rainflower begins scolding Crookedjaw and Oakheart for telling friendly jokes about the queens, making a (quite) boring lecture about how the queens "enjoy helping their Clan". Crookedjaw and Oakheart just roll their eyes at this.
  • Asher in Someone Else's War.
  • Colonel Lieutenant after promotion Brendig in David Edding's Belgariad. Also Ortzel from the Elenium. The two never smile. Ortzel does later, albeit it looking unnatural on him. Brendig does show some humour, but since this is a work of Edding's, compared to the others, his humour is close to, if not, nil.
    Ce'Nedra:Don't you ever smile?
    Brendig: [perfectly straight face] I am smiling.
  • In a series full of deadpan snarkers, Baron Vengeous from Skulduggery Pleasant has no sense of humour and an aversion to humour in general. Skulduggery's constant wisecracking is one of the things he hates about him. Interestingly though, in the second book Vengeous does crack a joke, saying "Forgive the expression but you and and what army" and at one point almost laughs at one of Skulduggery's jokes. Generally though, he's dour and humourless.
  • In 1066 and All That, Queen Victoria "remained obdurately plural and not amused" throughout her reign despite the best efforts of her subjects to amuse her.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Stannis Baratheon is perceived as this by the people of Westeros. The reality is that he has an extremely dry and subtle sense of humor which is lost on the average Westerosi who is accustomed to bawdy and/or toilet humor.
    • Victarion and Aeron Greyjoy both seem to have this lack. Victarion isn't very bright and dislikes jokes because he's always worried that they'll be at his expense and he won't be able to tell. Aeron used to have a sense of humor until he found religion, at which point he lost it.
  • In Psy Changeling, as a result of the Silence Protocol, this is a defining trait of the Psy race.
  • Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments, possibly because he tries too hard to be the mature one of the group.
  • All Hands! has Mrs. Cousins.
  • Roland from The Dark Tower freely admits that his sense of humor was "shot off in some war somewhere." He gets somewhat better the more time he spends with his True Companions.
  • The narrator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has an Ambiguous Disorder (the blurb says Asperger's, the book doesn't), and explains there will be no jokes in the book because he doesn't understand them. He can understand the concept of a pun, if it's explained to him, but if he tries to keep multiple meanings in his head at the same time, it's like trying to follow multiple conversations.
  • Don Tillman, the protagonist of The Rosie Project doesn't make or understand many jokes due to his Ambiguous Disorder.
  • Nico of The Spirit Thief tries to act like she has no sense of humour as part of her Emotionless Girl persona, but Eli's jokes manage to crack her up every once in a while.
  • In Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark, one of the notable traits of a Snark is its bad sense of humor.
    The third is its slowness in taking a jest
    If you happen to venture on one
    It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed
    And it always looks grave at a pun.
  • Kam Fong in jPod is mentally incapable of understanding humour due to being mildly autistic.
  • Old Man's War: The woman in the army recruiting office doesn't respond to the narrator's attempts to make jokes. She claims that her sense of humour was surgically removed when she was a child.
  • Merton Of The Movies: Merton, despite his love of movies overall, cannot understand the appeal of comedies as he does not understand the concept of humor. This works to his advantage a little bit as he can't tell when people are making jokes at his expense or being sarcastic, but he struggles in Hollywood until someone realizes he's The Comically Serious and perfect as the straight man as long as you don't tell Merton he's starring in a comedy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Stannis Baratheon, though in reality, a lot of his lines end up becoming humorous simply because of just how immaculately deadpan he delivers basically everything.
    Stannis: ...Then we ate the cats; Never liked cats, so fine. I do like dogs, good animals, loyal. But we ate them...
  • Star Trek:
    • Vulcans are renowned for having No Sense of Humor, though many of them are Deadpan Snarkers instead. The Romulans are much the same in this regard.
    • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation repeatedly attempts to understand humor as part of his quest to become more human. He doesn't succeed until he gets his emotion chip, which is one of the plot threads in the above-quoted movie.
    • Worf from the same series has almost no sense of humor either. He's always serious. At one point he shows disdain for people who rely too heavily on humor, saying they "talk much and say little." Martok eventually works out that he has a very dry and sarcastic sense of humor, he just almost never laughs.
    • Constable Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a practical Grumpy Bear who rarely even smiles, and anyone with a bad sense of humor (espescially Quark) tends to make him angry. On the other hand, Odo couldn't resist taking a moment with Quark to screw with Bashir and O'Brien after an incident in which they, Sisko, and Dax were shrunk to G. I. Joe size.note  He's also a very Deadpan Snarker (emphasis on the deadpan).
      Quark: And they say you have no sense of humor.
  • Brad Chase from Boston Legal.
  • Castiel on Supernatural has a lot of difficulty appreciating human humor, particularly sarcasm, although he has slowly improved with time, once even working out a sexual innuendo on his own, albeit with some prompting. He also occasionally laughs at things only he finds amusing, such as a confusing angel joke which he insisted was "funnier in Enochian."
    Dean: [referring to Uriel] You know, I'm starting to think junkless has a better sense of humor than you do.
    Castiel: [utterly serious] Uriel's the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone.
  • Lampshaded on Criminal Minds: Reid (falsely) calls Aaron Hotchner a narcissist as clue to where he is taken hostage. While figuring this out, Hotch asks the team what they consider his greatest folly. Spontanous answer by Prentiss: "You have no sense of humor!" Actually something of a subversion. Hotch does have a sense of humour; it's just so dry the Sahara looks like a swamp by comparison, and at this point Prentiss hasn't caught on to it yet.
  • The Colonel in episode 8 of Monty Python's Flying Circus who stopped sketches for being "too silly":
    Colonel: Now, nobody likes a good laugh more than I do... except perhaps my wife and some of her friends... oh yes and Captain Johnston. Come to think of it most people likes a good laugh more than I do.
  • Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He understands the concept of humor, he just doesn't get humor. When he's told that something is a joke, he forces the most fake laugh ever heard on television. And the things he does find humorous are usually beyond the scope of "mere mortals" like the remainder of the cast. Not until the end of the fourth season does he tell any jokes that get laughs (although that's partly due to Tough Room) and when he did so, he wasn't even aware he was doing it.
  • In early episodes of Mork & Mindy, Mork identifies people making In-Universe jokes by saying "Oh, humor — Ar-Ar!" And almost as often he does that when people aren't joking.
  • A common trait for the villains on Doctor Who. And some non-villains, like the Ood.
  • Major Neuheim of Private Schulz is a Pointy-Haired Boss, not to mention a Nazi, who is totally lacking in warmth and anything resembling a sense of humor. However, his humorlessness is itself a source of comedy.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Played with: Colonel O'Neill has very specifically stated that his name is spelled with two Ls on several occasions; this is because there's another Colonel Jack O'Neil in the fictional version of the USAF, one with No Sense of Humor. This is an in-joke and lampshading of the fact that Kurt Russell's version of the character in the movie (spelled with one L in the credits) was significantly less funny.
    • Teal'c almost never tells a joke or laughs (unless you count his occasional plays on Earth idioms), with one exception. It turns out the Jaffa sense of humor just doesn't translate through cultures well.
    • Stargate villains in general tend to be this way. Exceptions include the System Lord Ba'al and Todd the Wraith who, unlike the rest of their respective races, are Deadpan Snarkers.
  • Wesley on Buffy the Vampire Slayer started out this way, but later became a more rounded character as he transitioned to Angel. Angel has Illyria, justified by the fact that she's an Ancient One. In After The Fall, she finally gets one of Spike's jokes. Lampshade Hanging ensues.
  • Teddy Lindsey in JAG:
    Admiral Brovo: Don't worry, Teddy. Junior officers get thrown to the sharks first. And lieutenant Rabb is the one who's sailing into harm's way.
    Commander Lindsey: Yes, sir.
    Admiral Brovo: Harm's way? Lieutenant Rabb's first name is Harm.
    Commander Lindsey: Oh! Oh, yes, sir.
    Admiral Brovo: You need a sense of humor, Teddy, otherwise people are gonna think you're a lawyer.
    Commander Lindsey: I am a lawyer, sir.
  • People who don't "get" Mystery Science Theater 3000 — a show that plays bad movies and heckles them as they play — sometimes are dealing with this. They find the riffing gets in the way of their enjoyment of the movie being played. Not everyone has this issue though — some people have a good sense of humor but it's hard for them to follow two things — the movie and the riffing.
  • Margo Leadbetter in The Good Life. In the episode in which the Goods and the Leadbetters get drunk together after a dinner party, she admits that she's never been able to understand anybody's jokes and gets quite upset.

  • The John Dredge Nothing To Do With Anything Show's version of Hans Keller:
    Hans Keller: Before we continue further, I must give a special mention to Radio 3's very own "Smiley Miley", who buried my car in ze sand yesterday as a so called "prank". Needless to say, I immediately contacted ze police und expect ze subsequent court proceedings to result in a custodial sentence. I bet he isn't smiling now.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sam the American Eagle from The Muppet Show.
    • In one of the Muppet's "at the ball" sketches, a female dancer asked her partner, "Do you know who is the most humorless man in the world?" When he said no, she replied, "You are, Fathead!" He, of course, responded, "I don't get it."
  • From Les Guignols de l'Info, Eva Joly, a French-Norwegian ecologist and former judge.
  • Fraggle Rock: Subverted. The World's Oldest Fraggle explains to Red that they're supposed to hate the Cave Fraggles because they have no sense of humor. He says that the Cave Fraggles think the best part of getting a pie in the face is cleaning up afterward. In reality, their sense of humor is different from that of the Rock Fraggles. They tell Mokey about their sense of humor in the song "Ho Ho Ho (What a Funny World It Is)."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Any being with the disadvantage "No Sense of Humor" in GURPS.
  • Similarly, any character with the "Morose" flaw in Ironclaw tends towards being a sullen miseryguts and reacts poorly to more lively or humorous characters.

    Video Games 
  • The Sims:
    • This is a trait you can give your sims in The Sims 3. It causes them to respond badly to being told jokes.
    • Also in the first two games, extremely Serious sims (Sims with very few points in the Playful personality aspect) typically don't respond well to jokes.
    • And in The Sims 4, as of the Get Famous expansion, famous Sims have a chance of getting the fame quirk, A Serious Actor, after performing a dramatic gig. Any funny or mischievous actions performed on Sims with this quirk will fail and cause them to become angry.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Resident synthetic intelligences EDI and Legion from Mass Effect 2. Though EDI certainly tries. By the third game, she's now a full on aversion of the trope, and is, for the most part, able to keep up with Joker, although her taste in humor leans more towards messing with people's heads.
    • Another artificial intelligence, SAM, in Mass Effect: Andromeda, also struggles with humor, mostly limited to telling very stale jokes that it looked up on the Extranet somewhere ("Why don't Thresher Maws eat clowns? Because they taste funny."). Its creator ordered it to "work on them". SAM does a bit better with sarcastic humor, though whether its doing that on purpose or just making deadpan comments that sound funny is unclear. At one point, SAM's sense of humor (or lack thereof) is blamed at SAM's creator being another example.
  • The Mechari of WildStar suffer from this. Ironic, as real-life manipulators frequently use humor to disarm targets and throw suspicion off themselves.
  • Bladewolf from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance analyzes Raiden's jokes. When Raiden says he needs to teach him sarcasm, Bladewolf confirms that he does get the jokes. He just doesn't find them funny.
  • League of Legends:
    • Some Champions just refuse to joke when you order them to. If you read their backstories, it was implied that a traumatic event from their past prevents them from making jokes and take things in utter seriousness.
      Vayne: I have no time for nonsense. / Joke? What do you mean?
    • Poppy was formerly this before her rework. ("Jokes? I don't know any jokes.") The updated version Cannot Tell a Joke — entering her joke command repeatedly starts a rambling "Three people walk into a bar"-type joke that she never finishes because she can't remember how it goes.
  • Tyr in Smite is so stone-faced, he just spoke of honor talks when being told to joke, and when being told to laugh, he flat out refused and said it's not funny. And then, when given the SockPuppetTyr skin, he gets a sock puppet that likes to speak or crack jokes a lot... and he hates it.
  • Mortal Kombat has a few people who don't joke around, though perhaps the most commonly recurring one is Sub-Zero, whose Pre-Battle Banter reveals that he is always serious and constantly frustrated by the antics of the rest of the cast, especially Johnny Cage. Even Sub-Zero's evil undead older brother Noob Saibot cracks more jokes than he does.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape:
    • Kai is very serious, and he doesn't like it when others make a game out of serious situations either.
    • Aseir can NOT take a joke, and Nik wonders if he knows what a joke even is.

    Web Comics 
  • CivGeneral of Draw Your Own Story, but only towards jokes directed towards him.
  • The warship A.I. Tag from Schlock Mercenary was originally created with no sense of humor, but has tried to learn it to better understand his opponents.
  • Third Character of Jayden and Crusader is a particularly violent atheist with no sense of humour at all.
  • The female warrior in Oglaf has absolutely no sense of humor, only getting pissed off by anyone who attempts to be funny. Of course, eventually she has to end up fighting cultists of the God of Fun.
  • Asia Ellis from morphE. She's socially oblivious Literal-Minded and requires jokes to be explained. She often finds them stupid when broken into their base components. Billy in particular despises the fact she exhibits this trait.
  • Benito Juárez is treated in this fashion by this Hark! A Vagrant strip.
    Benito Juárez: I had fun once, and it was awful.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman in Batman: The Animated Series is thought by many to have no sense of humor, but that's a false perception influenced by his extremely introverted personality. Then again, it's a good thing that he usually doesn't laugh, because Harley Quinn considers his laughter to be the creepiest thing she's ever heard.
  • Adult Ben in the Ben 10 episode "Ben 10,000". He gets better though.
  • Optimus Prime in Transformers: Prime. It's stated that all Primes are like this — the Matrix of Leadership, which contains the accumulated wisdom of all past Primes, gives them a sense of responsibility, dignity and gravitas that leaves little room for goofing around. Optimus notably wasn't like this in the original series. While usually serious he was not above playing a game of basketball with his men, or cracking a joke or two, or mocking Megatron. However as the years and series went on his characterisation became more and more about being a no-nonsense messiah type figure.
  • Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Well, he does have a sense of humor, it's just one he's really bad at using.
  • Lemongrab of Adventure Time. He tries, though. He really does try... but he fails horribly.
    Lemongrab: Ha. Ha ha ha! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Twelve years Dungeon! All of you! Dungeon! Seven years, no trial!
  • Zane in Ninjago is noted in the early seasons for trying and failing to understand humor. The reason for this is that he is a Ridiculously Human Robot that normally has all of his emotions switched off, including humor. Once he switches it back on, he becomes more sillier.
  • The Simpsons: Rex Banner never laughs. When he tries to do so, in "Homer vs. the Eightheenth Amendment" (due to him finding the idea of a beer baron operating under his nose without getting caught "laughable"), he fails miserably.
  • In one episode of King of the Hill, Bobby attends a comedy class taught by a pretentious professor who looks down on anything that could actually be considered funny by normal people and indoctrinates Bobby into doing bizarre modern art performances rather than actual comedy.
  • In The Venture Bros., The Monarch claims that a lab accident that turned Phantom Limb evil(er) did two things. First, it gave Phantom Limb the power to kill a man by touching him. Second, is that he "became a humorless dick."
  • Agent Powers from the season two premiere of Gravity Falls claims to be "physically incapable of experiencing humor".
  • Temporarily happens to Cartman in the South Park episode "How to Eat With Your Butt". Cartman "blows a funny fuse" after a particularly hilarious prank leads to a couple with butts for faces showing up in town, and he becomes unable to laugh at anything.
  • Princess Luna in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Luna Eclipsed" is unable to comprehend the merriment of Nightmare Night until she learns to have some fun.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Mandy, full stop. She never smiles, much less laugh, but is capable of snark.

    Real Life 
  • An egregiously cliché blanket accusation of detractors of Black Comedy. It will usually be coupled with some ranting about Political Correctness Gone Mad and a bit of Parody Retcon sprinkled in.
    • Also a common technique among abusers, who verbally taunt, harass, and degrade their targets and then, when feelings are hurt and/or they are called to account for their behavior, defend themselves with "You can't take a joke." In other words, they take a case of Dude, Not Funny! and deliberately try to turn it into this trope. See the "Just Joking" Justification Page for more about it.
  • Germans are often stereotyped as being this. In reality, German Humour is a bit more complicated; Germans definitely do have a sense of humour, and enjoy comedy, but their ideas about what is funny and what isn't can vary greatly from those of English speakers. Adding to the confusion is the tendency of German people to smile at a joke instead of laugh, making foreigners think that they didn't get it and are just being polite.
    • And German people think the English have no humor, or at least this special "English Humour"...
    • This trope was parodied by UN Ambassador Hans Beinholtz whose sense of humour was... dry, to say the least.
    • In Greece, if someone tells a joke that completely fails to amuse, people are likely to comment "That's an English joke."
  • Nuns can fall under this, depending on the nun.
  • An executive for Looney Tunes, Eddie Selzer, once overheard a group of writers laughing at jokes being thought up for a specific Looney Tunes. He stormed in and asked what all the laughing had to do with the making of animated cartoons.
    • He was well-known for having the sense of humor of an under-ripe potato. They used to use him as a sort of barometer for the quality of their ideas; if he liked it, they were off the mark. Selzer was, in fact, the specific genesis of the cartoon "Bully for Bugs", when he barged into a brainstorming session between Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese and declared, sans all provocation, that bullfights weren't funny, and there were to be no cartoons about them. They made the cartoon anyway, the argument being that Selzer had, in Chuck's words, "never been right about anything yet." Selzer's edict that "camels aren't funny" inspired Friz Freleng to disprove him by making "Sahara Hare". And although he loudly (and indelicately) declared that there was nothing funny about a skunk speaking French, Selzer proudly accepted the Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 1949 — for "For Scent-imental Reasons", a Pepé Le Pew cartoon.
    • Similarly, at MGM Tex Avery was forced to work for executive producer Fred Quimby, who, according to the book "Tex Avery: King of Cartoons", never understood any cartoon Avery made. Even though everyone else, including the audience, considered them to be hilarious. He even warned Avery not to make "Blitz Wolf", in which Hitler was ridiculed, "because we don't know who will win the war in the end."
  • The Marx Brothers: Groucho Marx always claimed that actress Margaret Dumont, who was always the Butt-Monkey of his insults, never seemed to understand his jokes. Recent research has found out that this was simply an urban legend.
  • The Islamic tyrant Ruhollah Khomeini is famous for this, one even claiming "There is no room for play in Islam, there are no jokes, there is no fun, there is no humour." Which is rather odd, considering that there are quite a few hadiths about Muhammed himself cracking jokes.
  • Attila the Hun is reputed to have had no sense of humour. Allegedly an envoy from the Eastern Roman empire who met with Attila once at dinner described it as follows: "By mixing up the languages of the Italians with those of the Huns and Goths, [an entertainer] fascinated everyone and made them break out into uncontrollable laughter, all that is except Attila. He remained impassive, without any change of expression, and neither by word or gesture did he seem to share in the merriment...." The impression left was that Attila lacked a sense of humor and cared about nothing but power.
  • A common misconception of Ayn Rand is that she had no comprehension of humor, despite a talent for devastatingly on-target satire. She was sometimes Late to the Punchline, perhaps as a result of early trauma, and part of it could have been that she was a native Russian-speaker operating in an English-speaking environment; plays on words and things like that may have just sailed right past her. She was prone to quips however and sometimes demonstrated a biting sardonic wit. For instance, whilst being pestered by a fly on a talk show, she commented "Perhaps it's protesting."
  • Isaac Newton is widely reputed to have had no sense of humour.
  • Legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans reportedly had this problem, much to Miles Davis's amusement. Apparently Miles had so much fun with Evans that on one occasion he told Evans that he'd have to have sex with all the members of Miles's band before he could join, and waited fifteen minutes before telling Evans it was a joke.
  • At the 2005 Academy Awards, host Chris Rock joked that Jude Law was in "every movie" released that year, remarking "Who is this guy?" and implying that Law was a low-rent Tom Cruise. Sean Penn later responded with dead seriousness, "In answer to our host's question, Jude Law is one of our finest young actors." After this, it became a bit of a Running Gag for people to poke fun at Penn's apparent lack of humor. Saturday Night Live did an entire sketch about this called "Sean Penn's Celebrity Roast", in which Penn completely misses the point of the roast and acts annoyed at the comedians making fun of their fellow celebrities.
  • This is an unfortunate stereotype of autistic people. It varies from person to person, but generally speaking, being autistic makes it harder to perceive sarcasm, and autistic people tend to take things literally. Not only that, but autistic people tend to have difficulty reading neurotypical social cues. This means that when someone cracks a joke, an autistic person may fail to fake a laugh or smile whereas a non-autistic person may at least make an attempt to politely chuckle at a joke, even if it isn't funny.
  • Anyone with a dry sense of humor or who has a reputation of being serious probably can relate to the pain of a joke falling flat because nobody can tell if he/she is joking or not.
  • Jean Doumanian, who oversaw the disastrous sixth season of Saturday Night Live, was said to have absolutely no understanding of comedy. According to one account, she would watch a Marx Brothers film and root for Margaret Dumont.

Alternative Title(s): No Sense Of Humour


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: